The Rise of Electric Cars, but Are They Worth It?

Len Burgess[1]

Len Burgess

Money Savings Advice Electric vehicle changing on street parking with graphical user interface, Future EV car concept

The UK government has pledged to stop the sale of new ICE (Internal combustion engines) by 2030; they have brought this forward by ten years, which is admirable, but are we ready for this new car change, and can electric cars be the saviours that we hear so much about?

First off, electric cars have come a long way in the last ten years. From the prototype car that had a mileage range of circa 10 miles, there are multiple big-name manufacturers whose vehicles have ranges of 400+ miles, which is incredible, so in another ten years and with battery development, these ranges are only going to increase.

But when it comes to charging, what are the main issues. Continue reading to get the full details on charging and the problems that still have to be addressed.

EV Charging

When it comes to charging, there are practical issues with EV’s. On the face of it, charging your EV is quite simple, you plug it in and depending on the battery size, and if your EV has rapid charging, you can get up to 80% battery fill in about 30-45mins, which is great for on the road if you are traveling long distances.

Finding a charge point, although much easier now, can be slightly problematic depending on where you are.

Although EVs really come into their own when driving in towns and the back streets as the increase in breaking do increase your mileage slightly, driving on motorways is becoming ever easier due to the volume of charge points available.

The two major petrol stations, BP and Shell, have their EV charge points at the majority of their petrol stations, and almost all of these have rapid charging.

BPs Polar Plus

BP’s electric charge network is called ‘Polar Plus,’ and although their APP is completely rubbish, their charge points are easy to use. Polar plus has over 7,000 charge points that are a combination of slow 5KwH up to 50KwH with prices up to £0.30p KwH.

Shell Recharge

Shell electric charge network is called ‘Shell Recharge,’ their app is easy to use, and they have circa 200 forecourts that have charge points, and they want to double this by 2022.

Now, this is not an article about what is the best charge point, but as you can see, if you are out driving your EV, there are ample opportunities to charge your car.

Other charging networks, namely Genie, Pod-Point & ElectricHighway, and it's certainly worth joining each, so you have adequate coverage; we wouldn't recommend just being a member of one network; it does limit your options.

There is also a fantastic app called 'Zap-Map' that tracks all charge points in the UK and has a tremendous feature that means you can plan your journey and the closest charge point; we would certainly recommend using it if you are planning on a long journey.

Home Charging Your Electric Vehicle

Home charging is imperative.  All EV manufacturers recommend that you should charge your EV for 4-5 hours to get the most from the battery, so charging at night-time is probably the best option (see below for more information on home charging tariffs)

But, when it comes to home charging, there are a few problems and issues to consider. 

First and foremost, at the moment, if you don't have off road parking, then there is no chance of getting a home charge point installed.

Off-road parking is a must, with most people installing their charge point in the garage. Hopefully, somebody will develop a new charge point, that means you don't have to have off-road parking, but at the moment that isn't available.

Secondly, you need to consider the AMP type you have in the home. Most home charge points require an 80 or 100 AMP, but most homes are fitted with 60 AMP.  

Now, this isn't a massive issue, you can contact the UK Power Network, and they can arrange for an engineer to visit and change your AMP for free, but there is a few weeks waiting list, but this is certainly not a reason to not get an EV.

Home Electric Vehicle Electric Tariffs

So you have your EV, you have installed your electric charge point, and you are charging in the evening or night time to give your battery the full 100%.  

Did you know that most electric providers have an EV tariff that enables you to charge your car at night-time and pay a heavily reduced KwH?  

Well, they do, speak to your provider and see what EV tariffs they have. You will first need your car, and you will need to provide proof of your EV, but that shouldn't be an issue – nearly all require you to have your energy monitoring system on and working; again, this shouldn't be an issue.

Electric Vehicle Range Anxiety 

Range anxiety is a real thing; trust me! The constant need to see how many miles you have left can be quite draining, and when you get down to the last 20-30 miles, the heart rate certainly increases, but with the right planning (I use Zap-Map as mentioned above) then you should be fine.

If you are using your EV for the school run the weekly shopping, then you really don’t have anything to worry about if you are charging in the evening. It’s the longer journeys at the weekends, and if you are using the car for work, that is when range anxiety really kicks in.  

But again, with the correct planning, you will be fine.

The Long Term Electric Vehicle Challenges

The primary long term challenge we can see is charging. Currently, there are circa 164k pure electric cars in the UK; there are also 40m ICE vehicles in the UK, so EVs make up 0.41% at the point of writing this.

By 2030 there are still going to be millions of ICE cars on the road, and they probably will be in our lifetime; EV’s are growing in popularity, and when somebody creates a battery that charges in 30mins and gives you a range of 1k miles, the game changes, and more and more people will certainly jump on the EV bandwagon.

However, there are not enough charge points in the UK for when we hit the 1m EVs on the road, so will the increase in charge points increase at the same rate as new EV’s on the road?  

We are not sure, we hope so! 

There is going to be nothing worse then queues of people waiting to charge their EV’s in the service stations; it can be stressful enough when you have to wait for somebody to fill their diesel, which takes about 5mins, let alone waiting for 30mins for somebody to fill their electric battery.

One thing we are sure about, the number of charge points in the UK is going to have increase 100 fold by 2030 if driving electric cars is going to officially be mainstream.

Our Electric Vehicle Conclusion

EV’s are great. We haven’t touched on the different types of cars on the road; we haven’t touched on the comfort, speed, and beauty of EV’s. 

If you are looking for a new car and you don’t drive huge distances, you have off-road parking and are prepared to pay a little extra for your car, then EV’s are certainly for you.  

Money Savings Advice Author Len Burgess

Len Burgess

Len Burgess is a professional financial writer who over the last five years has written hundreds of articles for all financial sectors. Len founded Money Savings Advice with the aim of helping consumers navigate their way around the financial world by providing easy to understand financial information and matching consumers with the best financial advisor based on their personal information.

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